English Muffins

English Muffins (as seen on Pennies on a Platter)

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package instant (rapid rise) dry yeast
1 cup warm water (120 - 130 degrees F)
1/4 cup melted shortening
5-6 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
1 teaspoon salt

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles on sides (just scalding, not boiling), then remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead with dough hook until dough is just formed. (Do not over-knead.) Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise.

Punch down. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tuna can. Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Heat greased griddle. Cook muffins on griddle about 10-15 minutes on each side. Start on a lower heat setting and work way up to a medium setting.  (300˚up to 350˚ if using electric griddle)  Allow to cool on rack and place in plastic bags for storage. To use, split and toast. Great with butter, or cream cheese and jam.